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>Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 20:55:38 +0100
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: single words for concepts for which other languages paraphrase
> To: [log in to unmask]

> On Monday 21 January 2013 22:35:52 Leonardo Castro wrote:
 
> > 2013/1/21 A. da Mek:
> > >> the Czech author Milan Kundera doesn't understand how non-Czech
> > >> languages could possibly do without an equivalent to the Czech word
> > >> "litost," to which an English speaker sort of just shrugs when he/she
> > >> hears the word translated as "a state of torment created by the sudden
> > >> sight of one's own misery."

> > > Do not take him too seriously. This is only one of possible meanings, and
> > > the
> > > more precise word for it would be rather "sebelítost", self-pity.
> > > "Lítost" simply means regret, pity or sorrow (there is a German cognate
> > > "Leid"); it is not a specialised word for cry in one's beer.
 
> > As you said this, I'm encouraged to say that I feel that the
> > Portuguese word "saudade" is much more generic than “a feeling of
> > wistful longing for something one once knew and which might never
> > return” (as also cited in the original message). 
> How many of us have such words in our conlangs?

Following the model of my German-English dictionary, which says if a concept doesn't translate well (it seemed there was some type of German cake? (also various terms in the German educational and governmental systems)), it's just going to *explain* it and to hell with a simple gloss, if I feel the need to coin an indispensible word to the Géarthçins psyche that requires a definition like:

"a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one's own misery" (and let us not forget the plaintive wailing of a dog that goes with that) or

"a feeling of wistful longing for something one once knew and which might never return"

I just explain those words in italics on the Géarthnuns-English side with no corresponding entry on the English-Géarthnuns side. However, since there's no English cross reference, I've made a cheat sheet so if I'm thinking of one of *those* words, I can access it quickly. There are about fifteen thus far, and you could probably pare that down by half to the words of the totally twee and obnoxiously 'untranslatable' "hygge", "lítost", "saudade", "Gemütlichkeit", "wabi-sabi" variety.

Kou